South East Wales

Ashley Talbot: Maesteg school minibus crash death accidental

Ashley Talbot Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Ashley Daniel Talbot, 15, died at the scene

A teenage boy who died after being hit by a minibus outside his school was killed accidentally, an inquest jury has concluded.

Ashley Talbot, 15, died at Maesteg Comprehensive School in Bridgend county in December 2014.

No action was taken against the teacher driving the minibus, Chris Brooks.

After his inquest, Ashley's family said he was "popular and well-liked", and child safety should be "uppermost in everyone's minds".

A Health and Safety Executive investigation is ongoing.

Concerns had been raised about safety at the school before the crash, with a regular bus driver telling the Aberdare inquest it was an "accident waiting to happen".

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Media captionSolicitor Graham Balmforth reads Ashley's family's statement

The coroner said he would make a "prevention of future deaths" report to raise awareness of concerns he had and minimise the risk to other schools.

Hedley Williams previously told the inquest the end of the school day was a "free-for-all" with children running across the road.

He said he had raised concerns about safety but felt he had not been listened to.

A Bridgend county council spokesman said it had worked with relevant bodies to make improvements at the school, including a drop-off area for buses and a ban on traffic entering and leaving the grounds between 14:55 and 15:15.

In a statement, Mr Brooks said he was travelling at a "safe and appropriate speed" on the day of the crash.

Image caption The minibus was taken away from the school after Ashley's death

He said he saw something "appear very quickly" as Ashley and another boy emerged from between the buses.

He added: "Instantaneously, there was a bang as an object hit the Peugeot. I saw it was a male pupil I recognised.

"In the same instant I heard a second bang, the passenger side rose up. I prayed it was (the first boy's) bag. There were milliseconds between the bangs. I braked hard and as quickly as I could."

PC Christopher Street, who conducted a forensic investigation of the scene, said Mr Brooks would have had "less than a second to react" after Ashley and his friend ran out in front of the minibus.

'Forever missed'

The statement from his family said: "Ashley was a fun-loving and enthusiastic boy with a sensitive nature and a sunny disposition.

"Ashley loved nothing more than to make people smile and he will be forever missed by those who knew and loved him.

"The utter loss and devastation following the accident has left the family broken and they will never come to terms with the death of their only son in such tragic circumstances."

It added the family had been campaigning for a change in the law and improved safety on school roads.

"Ashley has been described as being 'popular and well loved' by his class mates, and the family want this to be the enduring memory of him," they said.

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